A national survey of the countryside has shown that good quality ponds have vanished from many parts of the countryside, although there’s actually more ponds in numerical terms. And this could spell disaster for wildlife.
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology carry out a Countryside Survey in the UK every ten years, commissioned by Defra and the Natural Environment Research Council, and this one is the world’s first national survey of the condition of ponds.
The results show that although the number of ponds in Britain has gone up by 11% since 1998, only 8% of them are currently in good condition, and that the quality of ponds went down between 1996 and 2007.
According to Dr Jeremy Biggs, Director of Policy and Research at the charity Pond Conservation, although ponds may seem insignificant compared to rivers and lakes, ponds have at least as much variety of wildlife, and provide a refuge for many endangered plants and animals. Many rare and delicate freshwater plants and animals depend on ponds, so the fall in quality ponds could be serious.
Although it’s positive that the number of ponds in the UK has increased, we don’t know how many of them will provide clean, unpolluted water for wildlife. Pond Conservation are coordinating a major Million Ponds Project to bring nice clean ponds back, and to start with they’re planning on making 5,000 new ponds over the next four years.